I'm currently working with 8-10 different artists, located around the world. Each one is going to end up doing between 5-10 pieces for the game. The advantage of this diversity in artists is two-fold. First, it rapidly speeds up development time. Every artist is working on a piece concurrently, and there's a solid possibility we'll average 4-6 finished pieces per week for the next couple months because of that. Second, working with different artists brings different visions and styles to a game. I've always loved Magic the Gathering. But if I was going to be honest, I'd say that at least 50% of my love for that game has to do with the artwork. From the time when I first started collecting in the early '90's, I loved the imagery - and the different styles that various artists brought. Personally, I always loved the immediately-recognizable style of both Rebecca Guay and Chippy:
Now, there are disadvantages of working with multiple artists too. First, the logistics are more challenging, since you're in communication with many different people, all working on different projects at different stages. I'm a very organized person, fortunately, so logistics don't bother me. Second, the diversity in artistic approaches can be a detriment to stylistic consistency within a game. Not all our Rhinochs are going to look the same. Some of our artists have a more "photo-realistic" style, while others are a bit more impressionistic. Take, for example, this image of a steampunk Gargoyle, drawn by Shane Braithewaite:
Compare to this illustration of the University, by Marco Morte:
And this image of the Harvester, by Ben Jackson:
These artists have such different visions and styles, and I absolutely love all three of them. To me, the variety in art in a clear boon to Clockwork Wars.
The process of working with these folks is just flat out fun. The first step is to generate some ideas for what a particular card's "scene" might be. I really have to immerse myself in the world of Clockwork Wars to do that, and exercise my imagination. For example, here's a description I recently sent to one of our artists:
Card name: Sabotage
There's a large water mill or dam in the image. Some Troglodyte spies/saboteurs are planting explosives that will blow up the mill/dam. OR the dam is already exploding, and the Trog spies are observing from a distance. I imagine a somewhat distant point of view for this image, so the Trogs don't need to shown in clear detail.
I'm trying to provide enough guidance and inspiration without over-detailing and impinging upon their creative process. The fact is, I've been surprised and delighted by nearly every single piece our artists have come up with. Their visions are much more imaginative and interesting than anything I could possibly generate. This is why I'm a scientist and not an artist. The artist will then get back to me with some initial sketches, which we'll chat about and possibly revise/dump before they proceed into coloring and detail-work.
I hope you enjoyed this brief look into the art design process for Clockwork Wars. Everything has been a learning experience for me, but that's honestly been one of the best aspects of all this. Gaining some insight into an industry that I've always been curious about.